Taxing times in Ferry

MARTINS FERRY The city building saw heavy traffic last Thursday and Friday with representatives from the Regional Income Tax Agency, reviewing tax records covering a three-year period.

City Auditor Rita Randall said that people who either did not file their returns or who owe back taxes received subpoenas inviting them to meet with RITA representatives to correct the matter.

Randall added that although she was sent a delinquent list, the city had not received reports detailing the numbers of subpoenas or the amounts of money. She added that although the city only runs the program every two years it may consider operating it on a year-to-year basis due to the number of people who reported to the office.

Amy Arrighi, chief legal counsel for RITA, noted that the agency conducted a non-filer program, for individuals who have not filed income tax returns with the city for one or more years.

“The issuance of the subpoena is the last step in the program. Individuals who have not filed required income tax returns are first sent a non-filing letter, advising that returns for certain years have not been filed and advising that they must file the missing returns or demonstrate an exemption from filing,” she noted, adding that those who do not timely respond to that non-filing notice are issued an administrative subpoena, requiring that they appear at the city and produce the records necessary to file the missing returns.

RITA sent two auditors to meet with the taxpayers that appeared to file their returns. The tax years at issue depend on each taxpayer’s circumstances and could include tax years 2006 through 2010. RITA issued administrative subpoenas to 735 taxpayers and 140 appeared at the program during the two days. A total of 259 income tax forms were filed during that time.

“Many people respond by mailing in the missing documents prior to the subpoena appearance, so the in-person response is just a portion of the whole program,” she stated. “Full results of this non-filer program will not be available until all forms are processed.”

RITA also provided auditors for taxpayer assistance at St. Clairsville earlier this year. This was not an subpoena program. The city’s income tax is fairly new and the agency was asked to provide taxpayer assistance days to answer questions residents may have had about the income tax and assist with filings if necessary. A total of 16 taxpayers appeared for assistance.

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